I’ve always heard about middle child syndrome, but I’ve never seen it before nor experienced it. It’s always been myself and my younger sister. I was the eldest, she was the baby, and I had to set the example. All of those memes about how they had your curfew, you dated with an escort, etc.- yea that was totally me.
Then I married Chris, and these three very special little boys entered my life. They all have their quirky personalities, likes, dislikes, and attitudes. However, our middle son, G has tops his brothers in all categories. If his brothers are having a bad day, he has a worse day. If his brothers are sick, he has to be sicker, if his brothers are behaving, he isn’t. At first we thought it was middle child syndrome, so we left it at that.
However, over the past year, his behavior has gotten worse and worse. He has been caught lying, stealing, being spiteful, and purposely mean to not only his brothers but to both sets of parents and grandparents. We practice positive reinforcement, positive attention, constructive criticism, and appropriate punishments. We don’t spank, we don’t scream or yell – and even if we were, it wouldn’t work on G. He’s immune – at least that’s what we all thought.
Since the beginning of the school year, he has been constantly getting into trouble at school, being sent to the principle, etc. The most recent one, being over him, getting up to sharpen his pencil. Let me backtrack for a moment. Since August, he had been coming home – and this was noticed by both his mom and us – extremely upset, angry, and sad. At one point he even said to us how everyone is right about him, and that he’s an awfully bad person.
This statement stopped me dead in my tracks. I’m sorry but my kid is anything but an awful person. He’s a child who is learning the boundaries, and pushing ours. He relies on his elders and authority figures to teach him and guide him in the right direction. Some kids need more of a push than others, and that is okay.
It had recently come to our attention, that his teacher just doesn’t like G. She literally picks on him over everything. Some examples have been, sharpening his pencil, asking to go to the nurse or the bathroom, finishing his work before everyone else. She even said to him, “You’re a bad kid, and I think you should go see a doctor about your behavior!” Last I checked, this is a conversation to be had with his parents not him. We’ve requested a meeting with his teacher, but she has yet to schedule one with us. The principle is aware of issue and has promised to speak with her.
All this time we honestly thought that our son was being “bad” on purpose. That he just didn’t like authority and defied it because he wanted to. We had a feeling there was an underlying issue, and I’m glad that we’ve found it. Our child is being bullied by his teacher, by someone he should be looking up to. It explains his behavior and attitude over the past few months.
Through out all of this, here are a few things I’ve learned while parenting the middle child:
- Be prepared to be constantly surprised. They’re usually more witty and sarcastic than their other siblings, and probably remind you of yourself at their age.
- They’re smarter than they let on – just go with it, they know what they’re talking about.
- Don’t constantly question their actions – they have a reason to their madness, even if it’s not apparent at first.
- Don’t treat them any differently than their siblings. That means don’t give them extra cuddles or firmer punishments. They want to be treated as equals.
- While they may want to be treated as equals, they know that there are some things they’re better at.
- They can and will outsmart you at any given point.
- They’re smart-asses, more than likely so are you – just accept it and move on with your day.
- They will test you – constantly.
I love all three equally, they are truly the light of my life. I can not, ever, picture my life without them in it. We’re going to get G squared away, and if we have to change classes then we will do that. Everything will be done in his best interest. We’d hate for him to hate school, especially when he’s so smart and so good at it.